It's been a while since I've been drawn so completely in to a work of non-fiction. "MCTUS" was a wonderful, informative read, and ultimately, for me, a bit of a sad one.
It's difficult for me to gague how much appeal this book will have for people who aren't comics fans or interested in publishing. It's well-written, and moves quickly, but the repeated rises and falls of a pop-culture phenomenon might not thrill casual observers.
But this book meant the world to me. I grew up reading Marvel Comics, and so many of the characters and creaters seemed almost like old friends to me. I was suprirsed at how much I didn't know about the behind-the-scenes maneurvering, marketing-driven titles, and revolving editorial mandates.
This book is a rich tapestry of Marvel history, from its derivative, pulp beginnings just before WWII to the mega-movie franchises of today.
I was enthralled from the start, and my excitement grew as the story approached when i first started collecting comics (1988 for TMNT, 1990 for Marvel).
I stopped reading in 1994, and have recently returned. This book has filled in the gaps. How clouded my perception was. It has inspired me to hunt down more books like this.
I never understood Reed Richard's hair . . . a few years ago I woke up and realized I had it.
If you get that joke . . . or if you are/were a Marvel comic book junkie, born between about 1958-78 (I was born in '68) I think you'd enjoy this book in some way, with the particular type of joy dependent on your personality.
For me, it was a bit like reading about a childhood hero ("Say it ain't so, Marvel") who you later found out was an alcoholic, misogynistic, criminal bastard in their day-to-day life.
I usually can't stomach gossip, or seedy insinuation---I could never read "The Comics Journal" back in the day----but somehow this book manages to cover the history of Marvel and such topics in all their tawdry glory without making you feel like you hate humanity in general.
A disclaimer: I probably represent about the most interested possible audience for this book. As a young artist I came very close to working for the major companies (the Shooter/DeFalco regimes) before I became a mainstream commercial illustrator (Briefly, I did later work for Eclipse and Dark Horse) and so almost every name mentioned brought forth from memory a face and a conversation at a convention, but I think even if you were just interested in the 1980's comics as a reader this would still be a fascinating peek behind the scenes.
Beyond all of the above, this book is also an almost accidental testimony to the oblivious evils of corporate greed and what happens when it collides with a creator's idealistic artistic passion. (Creators lose the battle, but have a lot more fun and fewer regrets on their deathbed.)
Excelsior . . .
I must confess before you start reading this that I'm a comic book fan. I always have been and I'd image I always will be. I learned to read with comics when I was 4 years old and what I read was Marvel.
The construction of the story was extremely interesting, hearing the origin of how all of the heroes, villains, and stories came to life.
Behind the scenes at Marvel seemed to be as colorful and exciting as the characters they worked on.
The story tracks from before Marvel truly existed all the way through to its sale to Disney.
This is a fascinating story of the ups and downs of the comic book industry told from the perspective of those who lived it.
If you are or were a fan of Marvel comics you'll find this book engaging and hard to stop listening to.
This is well worth taking the time to hear.
Sean Howe did a killer job of digging up all the dirty details of Marvel Comics and everything that went right (and much more that went wrong) over the decades. It's a fascinating read for anyone interested in Marvel and what went down behind the scenes. As for quibbles, it can be a bit dry on occasion (it's more focused on business aspects and contentiousness between the principals than digging into the creative aspects), and sometimes the chronology isn't quite as clear as it could be. However, it's still a really enlightening read if you're interested in the subject. Stephen Hoye's narration is solid, though there are some strange pronunciation issues now and then, and his tone isn't as colorful as one might hope for this type of material. Overall, it's a very solid audiobook.
yes, it gives you some useful info that you thought you alredy knew,
the story behind the story, this give you background on some of the greats in the comic book world that are always over looked (Steve Gerbur)
no i have not
it made me go back and find some comics that i would have other wise walked right past
even if you think you know alot about comic books, this book will make you go back and look for those lost gems of the past, not just the big names like Spidey or Cap but stuff like Howard the duck or The Defenders.